September 28, 2019

Happy to meat you in Hong Kong

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I've kinda been itching to try a new place, but a couple of the prime suspects were either a little too new, or too hot to score a reservation on short notice.  Somehow I ended up calling Wagyu Vanne, and was pretty happy that they didn't seem to have a problem fitting us in on the same evening.

I'm a big fan of Yoroniku (よろにく) in Tokyo, although I've only been to their location in Aoyama and not the more upscale location 蕃 YORONIKU in Ebisu.  I heard that owner Kuwahara "Vanne" Hideyuki (桑原秀幸) chose to open an outlet here, following in the footsteps of Yakiniku Jumbo (焼肉ジャンボ) and Wagyumafia.  I wasn't in a hurry to go, but I figured enough time has passed by now.

There were a few choices of set menus, but other than a couple of items, they didn't seem particularly appealing.  So we decided to order à la carte instead.

Wagyu sushi "3 ways" (和牛握り三種類) - Hello Kitty regrets ordering this, and it's probably the only thing we had tonight that we didn't enjoy.
Maki (巻き) - my first reaction to this was simply W-T-F... Why the fuck was gold foil needed here???!!!  The freeze-dried powder made from beef fat was interesting as it added flavors and richness, but even the gold couldn't save this crappy roll with the dry and overcooked pieces of beef inside.

With salmon roe (イクラ) - OK la...

With sea urchin (雲丹) - although the sea urchin was nothing to write home about, this piece was pretty damn delicious.

Thick cut wagyu tongue with green onion sauce (厚切りネギ醬油牛タン) - we decided to forgo the "tongue 3 ways" in the set menu and just ordered the thick cut.

Restaurant Manager Paco did a pretty good job of grilling for us, starting with this.  I love it when tongue delivers that bouncy, springy texture as my teeth bite down on it.  Very nice.

Ribeye cap (カブリ) - the primary reason we chose not to go with a set menu was the existence of daily specials and rare cuts which could be ordered separately.  When we were told that tonight's selection was ribeye cap, that was good enough for us.  The cuts on the set menus weren't really special, and this was way, waaay more interesting.

And it was so, sooo good!  Very nicely marinated.  Sooo fatty, sooo soft, sooo tasty!

Knuckle main muscle (シンシン) - as expected, this had more meaty flavors, and the texture was firmer, almost chewy.

Short rib (タテバラ) - OMG, this was so, sooo good... Very thin slices, so very tender.  The marinade made this really, really tasty.

Signature Hiyama A5 chateubriand katsu wagyu sandwich (名物A5日山和牛シャトーブリアンカツサンド) - much like the famed offering at Wagyumafia, these guys also do a katsu sando (カツサンド) along with a house-style presentation.  Paco is pretty smart and could sense that we weren't interested in taking pictures of the presentation, so he simply put the halves on our plates.

Gotta say that this was pretty good.  The toast was nice and crunchy on the outside and soft inside.  No surprise that the piece of chateaubriand was tender and tasty.  Lovely texture.

Chuck roll (カタシン) - we were already full after the sandwich, but then this showed up... I asked for one of my pieces to be done a little more rare, and this turned out to be the wrong move.  Pieces like this become a little difficult to chew when it's not fully cooked, so I asked for the rest of my portion to be fully-cooked.

We were both too full by this point, so there was no possibility of taking in a carb dish or even the shaved ice (かき氷).  I guess I'll have to wait to our next visit...

I brought a bottle to go with the beef:

2007 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape - surprisingly sweet on the nose, almost bubble gum-like, with smoky, leather notes, but also a little dusty at first.  Improved after some aeration.

This was a nice and casual evening out, but I gotta admit that I kinda OD'd on fatty beef... thanks to the generous portions.  Maybe next time we'd take it easy...

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